Solar Leases: Legal Considerations for Property Owners

Analyzing Lease Sites and Deal Structures and Addressing Key Document Provisions

The Butler Firm’s Managing Partner, Attorney Clay Butler, has been invited to be a speaker for a national continuing legal education seminar to be held on September 12, 2012. Details below.

His CLE webinar will provide real property counsel with a review of possible deal structures and key legal issues involved in the drafting and negotiation of a solar lease. The panel will also outline practical considerations for counsel to property owners to maximize the benefits of a solar leasing opportunity.


The solar energy industry is rapidly expanding. Creative business and leasing structures, as well as supportive legislation, have generated increased interest by developers in leasing private property for solar projects.

Solar projects are being developed on commercial rooftops, vacant tracts of land, and even over parking lots. Parking lot solar installations, which can also provide shade for parked cars, are gaining in popularity. Solar projects provide a new revenue opportunity for property owners.

Key legal issues to address in documenting different types of solar leases include site choice, lease payments, term, escalators, insurance, maintenance, repairs, access, system removal, and lender rights.

Listen as our experienced and authoritative panel identifies and explains important legal issues in solar leases and offers practical tips for counsel to property owners considering or involved in a solar leasing project.


  1. Different deal structures and site locations for solar leases
  2. Resolution of legal issues common to all solar leases
  3. Resolution of legal issues specific to the deal structure
  4. Practical suggestions to maximize the economic benefit of the lease to the property owner
  5. Future industry growth and new opportunities


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What are the different structures for a solar leasing project—and what are the benefits and risks of each?
  • How does site choice impact the dynamics of the deal?
  • What are the key legal issues raised in structuring a solar lease?
  • What are some practical tips for practitioners that can help maximize the financial benefit of the lease?

Following the speaker presentations, you’ll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


Stephen A. Kisker, Member
Wolff Samson, West Orange, N.J.

He advises on all facets of commercial and residential real estate acquisition, development, financing, redevelopment, management and disposition. He provides experienced counsel on all aspects of renewable energy projects, including: power purchase agreements; engineering, procurement and construction contracts; site leases and licenses; SREC contracts; and operation and maintenance contracts.

Scott A. Bank, Counsel
Chadbourne & Parke, New York

His practice encompasses all aspects of commercial real estate, with particular emphasis on commercial acquisitions and dispositions, financings and workouts, investments and joint ventures, development, governance regimes, construction and design, and zoning and land use. He advises and has spoken on the development of solar power projects.

Clay A. ButlerPartner
The Butler Firm, Austin, Texas

He specializes in renewable energy law and represents clients from utility-scale project development to distributed generation. He has served as lead project counsel on utility-scale solar projects, and has developed a utility-sponsored solar lease model. He is involved in regulatory and policy matters for his clients as well as assisting in project financing and structuring.